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Public hearing on $45 million bond referendum scheduled Dec. 16

SALISBURY – The Rowan County commissioners voted Monday to approve a bond order and hold a public hearing Dec. 16 on a $45 million package to finance construction and equipment for an advanced technology education complex at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College.

The bond order calls for the issuance of the $45 million and will not become effective until approved by voters on the March 2020 ballot. But the commissioners must first hold a public hearing, and each speech from members of the public will be limited to three minutes to address the board, said Commissioners Chairman Greg Edds.

There were no comments from commissioners on the merits of the bond order during Monday’s meeting. The commissioners quickly moved to approve the scheduling of the public hearing and the bond order.

Reading the bond order Monday, Vice Chairman Jim Greene said the $45 million would cover the “acquisition, construction, installation, renovation, and equipping of educational facilities at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College.” Plans for the facilities, which would total 105,000 square feet, involve the relocation of multiple programs, including facilities for the fire decontamination program; career and college promise building, which would include the Early College, too; welding and machining programs; and also digital design.

It would also provide training for high-tech job fields such as robotic and virtual welding, advanced machining and automotive technology.

If approved, the county would be required to repay the debt in a specified term that is currently proposed for 15 years. A 3-cent property tax increase is projected to be needed.

The $45 million project is for the college’s North Campus in Salisbury and is proposed to be complete by 2024.

In other business:

• The board approved a one-time $150 refund to Northeast Rowan County Water System customers after operating expenses, including depreciation expenses, were less than revenues from September to 2019.

• The board agreed to consider Concept C versus Concept B for design plans for the West End Plaza agriculture center. Concept C is intended to be a cheaper option, but final cost estimates were not presented Monday.

• The board held a public hearing on an ordinance about subdivision street standards. County planning staff members prepared an ordinance amendment after hearing concerns about pavement width and turnaround standards from the Rowan County Fire Marshal’s Office. Commissioners agreed to table the ordinance and to vote on it during the second commissioners meeting in January.

• The board gave approval to County Manager Aaron Church to negotiate and enter into a contract with a grant administrator for the Community Development Block Grant for the Chewy project. The total amount of the grant equals $1.5 million for infrastructure improvements for Chewy.com’s fulfillment warehouse on Long Ferry Road.

• The board agreed to enter into a proposal with John R. McAdams Co., a civil engineering company based in Durham. The project’s understanding says that Rowan County wishes to convert the former Woodleaf Elementary School site into a community park for passive recreation activities. The proposal includes proposed services, fees, site due diligence, community input, preliminary construction costs and more.

Items on the consent agenda included:

• Approval of a resolution establishing the board’s 2020 meeting schedule. Exceptions to the regular schedule changed the Jan. 20 meeting to Jan. 21, and the Sept. 7 meeting to Sept. 8.

• Approval of building reuse grant documents for Project Bay, which would create a cannabidiol manufacturing and research facility in northern Kannapolis. The Rowan County Economic Development Commission requested that the board approve a resolution that stated the support for the grant application, its willingness to supply the local cash match and its authorization of the county chairman, county manager and staff to execute necessary documents.

• Approval of retirement for Capt. Sam Towne, Detective Ronald Meismer, and Deputy Eric Ennis of the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office.

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